How to Make Connections With Your Professor Even in an Online Class

By Danielle Wirsansky on April 3, 2019

In today’s day and age, just about every student takes at least one online class. Online classes are a mixed bag. For some students, they are amazing. They love the flexibility and the option to be remote as well as have the discipline to be able to do their work all on their own. For other students, online classes are really hard. They need the in-person aspect of the class to help keep them accountable in their work. And for many students, they feel like in an online class that they miss out on one of the other very important aspects of even taking a class (outside of learning): they do not get to make connections with their professor.

Making connections with your professors is incredibly important. They can write you a powerful recommendation, help you connect to other important people in your field, give you valuable advice, and more. You would not want to miss out on the networking aspect of taking a class. But taking an online class does not have to bar you from still making those connections with your professor. If you are creative, persistent, and determined, you can still find ways to do it. Read on to learn how to make connections with your professor even in an online class!

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Do Your Work

Honestly, the first thing you need to be doing is your actual class work. You can try any of the strategies below but they will not really be effective for you if, bottom line, you are not actually doing your work. You can be charming and sociable all you want, but if you simply are not doing your work, your professor is not going to be likely to go out of their way to help you when and if you need it or recommend you for anything.

Why should they? At the end of the day, it is the work that you do that will be judged, and whatever judgment comes on you reflects back on your professor. Why would they put their own professional reputation on the line for someone that does not even accomplish the basic step of doing their work?

So do your work. And do your best on it. Even if you are struggling with it, still try to do it. Your professor understands that not everyone can be an ace at every subject. But if they can see that you are trying your best to get it done, they will be a lot more considerate of you and likely to help you out. They can see that your struggles are not from a lack of trying.

Ask Relevant Questions

Some students are afraid to reach out to a professor and ask a stupid question. And it is true, you can annoy a professor by asking questions about something that has been clearly laid out in the syllabus or in an announcement. But the best way to let a professor get to know you is to reach out and ask questions. Just make sure they are relevant questions.

Ask questions you have that are related to the topic or field that interests you. Ask them something about their achievements in the past. Ask them for advice on how to deal with your own situation or career (if it is related to their field of study and not too overtly personal). Most of the time, they will be glad to hear you out. And you will build a rapport with a professor that is personal so you do not end up being a random student the professor does not really know who, out of the blue, requested a recommendation letter or some other favor. Those are the kind of students that are often turned down because again, the professor will not put themselves on the line for a student that they do not know will do them proud.

Visit Office Hours

Even though online classes occur remotely, your professor most likely still has office hours. If you are still in the city where your college is housed or are able to travel there, it might not be a bad idea to stop by and meet with your professor in person. That way, the professor can better put a face to a name and it will help to make you a real person in their eyes, not just a student number and another paper to grade. If their hours do not work for you, ask if they can meet you another time during school hours. Make the effort and show them you are serious and they will often reciprocate.

 

Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

As you can see, there are many strategies you can employ to make connections with your professor even in an online class. So if you were worried about that aspect of taking an online class, don’t be! You have all the tools you need to create those important connections.

Danielle Wirsansky graduated from FSU with a BA in Theatre, a BA in Creative Writing with a minor in History, and an MA in Modern European History with a minor in Public History. While a graduate student, she served as the Communications Officer for the History Graduate Student Association and President/Artistic Director of White Mouse Theatre Productions. She studied abroad in London, England for the Spring 2015 semester at FSU's study center for the Playwriting Program and interned for the English National Theatre of Israel in Summer of 2015. Her first musical, City of Light, opened as part of FSU's New Horizons Festival in Spring of 2016. She has also won the MRCE and URCAA Research grants from FSU. In the past, she served as the Marketing Director for the FSU Student Theatre Association, the intern for the Holocaust Education Resource Council, and the research assistant of Prof. Nathan Stoltzfus. She has previously written for Context Florida (Contributing Writer), USA Today College (Contributing Writer), Sheroes of History (Contributing Blogger), No(le)Reservations (Contributing Blogger), Female, Reloaded (Arts/Entertainment Editor) , I Want a Buzz Magazine (intern), Mandarin Newsline (youth arts update columnist), Distink Designs (Guest blogger), whatscheaper.com (associate editor), escapewizard.com (associate editor), Spark TLH (Contributor), the Tallahassee Democrat (contributor), Elan Literary Magazine (Head of Marketing), and the Improviser Newspaper (Opinions Editor). Danielle has been lucky to be writing for Uloop since 2015 and to have served as the FSU Campus Editor since 2015.

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